Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An orange twist on cranberry sauce

Guest post written by Margaret King

 I'm really over all of those classic Thanksgiving dishes. I've had them for so many years that it's like my taste buds have become numb to them or something! So I knew that for Thanksgiving this year, I would fix those same classic recipes, but with a twist here or there. I knew that I would have a mutiny on my hands if I didnÕt' fix any of the holiday classics for our family meal that I'm hosting.

 I was online looking up a variation on cranberry sauce when I ran across some info on wireless internet providers Duluth. After I looked through it some I decided to change over my home internet service to one of the providers I found.

 I decided on fixing a orange cranberry sauce. It sounds like those flavors will be so delicious together, so that's really what made the decision for me. Plus, the last thing that I want to do is make some cranberry sauce straight for a jar. I canÕt stand the thought of serving can-sized cranberry sauce along beside all of my homemade stuff!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Guest post of the week by Bradley Guthrie

Some people are just born lucky and I am without a doubt one of those people. I am constantly winning raffle drawings, bingo games, and small amounts of money on lottery tickets. My dad swore that he had the same gift when he was growing and he often made trips to Las Vegas to see just how lucky he truly was. I think I felt like I was lucky the first time I won a raffle drawing for a diamond ring at one of the local jewelry stores back in my hometown. My mother suggested that I should put five dollars in the jar with my name on it and if I actually won the ring then she would let me do whatever I wanted with it when I reached the age of 18 years old. Moreover, I ended up winning the ring and ever since that moment I just had a feeling that no matter where I was, I had the best chance in the room of winning. This theory has actually proven to be right more times than not and anytime I get to put my name in the hat I never come away empty handed. Recently, I was telling my mom about a chainsaw I had won and she thought it was the funniest thing she had ever heard. She then told me about wireless cable television and I thought I was lucky to hear this information. Now I am planning a trip to Atlantic City to see if I am as lucky as I really believe.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Big Banks Stink

Thanks for the post from Sylvester Campbell

Do you have to deal with the big mega banks? Most of us do but most of us don’t like the levels of service we get from them. I was in my dentist’s office last week and couldn’t help overhearing the office staff complaining about the poor service they received from their bank. They were complaining about all the various fees that were now being charged to the business account for services. We all know that the new credit card laws reduced the amount of money that banks are making from credit cards and they are having to make up that revenue somewhere. One of the main areas the office staff was complaining about was the fees the bank charged to process credit card transactions. Since I had recently heard my brother who is a small business owner talking about researching options on, I suggested they might want to check it out. They did and liked what they found enough that I got a free office visit for my suggestion!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Living in a New Space

Guest post written by Nicole White

 This week, I plan on taking my husband's mother to a miracle ear free hearing test, the doctor's office, and the mall. We recently moved to Nebraska to be closer to her, and I think that now was the perfect time to do so. Our kids are now out of the house and on our own, and we were both ready to move into a place without so much empty space. I think it's a really nice chance, and I'm glad we are able to end a hand to my mother-in-law. Over the years, she has been so good to the both of us, and she's always been so loving with me. She always made me feel like family, even before my husband and I got married.

My husband has had an extreme amount of work lately, so I'm trying to help my mother-in-law out as much as I can without him. Next week, I think that we are going to all go out to a nice dinner. My husband's brother is going to come with us, as well. It should really be a nice time.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I have begun writing more on There are ample reasons for being there but mainly, I can do what I love best...Write. There is an incredible number of very talented writers on the site. You are sure to find an author or two that you enjoy following their writing. I would like to think I  am  one of them. Please join me there for some relaxing and reading.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sometimes, going back is good for the soul.

Easter Sunday... a day that in and of itself is so wonderful. It is a day that my family always celebrates together. A day of prayer and family and food and laughter that fills the soul with life. Each year, 100 plastic eggs, filled with yummies, are tossed all over a half acre of land. The "kids", ages 1 year old all the way to 35, run outside and search for the eggs with their names on them. They stuff them in their bag and with gihugic smiles, race across the fields to find more. I have watched and walked with my children for 30 years as they gathered eggs and ate candies until dinner was Not something they were going to eat. I love it, as do all my siblings and their children and grand-children. My parents, 78 years old and married 58 years, also watch and smile as the screeches and laughter fill their house. Could it get any better???
 This year, I was given the answer to that very question. My youngest daughter, my niece and my nephew announced during dinner that there was to be a change this year. They had made up and were going to hide Easter eggs for the Parents and we would go find eggs this year. At first, we were all unsure of this idea. Not to be put off, the kids were insistent that we experience what They have experienced for 23 years. there would be the adults and "little" kids searching for eggs this year. We hid ourselves away behind closed curtains and drawn shades as the eggs were hidden across the acreage. Then we all headed outside and began looking for our own eggs, this time, our children watching US search. As I walked through the grass and picked up eggs, I found myself feeling younger by the minute. I smiled and called out "I found another one" as I dropped it in my bag. I stopped to pick one up, then opened it, as I had seen My daughters do for more years than I can count. They smiled at me and I smiled back. Not just any smile, but a smile that came from deep with-in my soul.
 I sit here today, writing about the experience. It was 42 years ago that I had my Last Easter egg hunt for me. I can hear the voices of my children, their snickering at the fact that I had just walked by one of my eggs and not seen it. the sounds of their talking and laughter filled the air and my heart with joy beyond explanation. I laughed out loud and thought to myself what a wonderful gift these kids had given to us. For a moment, for just an hour or so, we were all 10 years old again. We were there, walking side by side with the kids that had given to us our youth back for the day. They had gifted us with something that far to often we lose somewhere along the path of life. I can not convey to you what it meant to me. I can not sufficiently describe the emotions that welled up inside of me as I broke open a plastic egg and ate the tiny candy bar that it held inside.
 Today, I thank my daughter and my niece and nephew for loving us enough to give back something we don't get to hold very often. I feel the wetness of tears as I write. Not tears of sadness, tears of joy and of knowing that for just an hour or so, I was a kid again. A kid that went searching for an Easter egg... and found the egg filled with Youth. To Shannon and Becca and Mattie I say "Thank you" from the deepest and warmest parts of my soul. "God Bless You" always for this.
 And to you, the reader, I say get out there and grab your youth. It is still there, tucked under a tree branch or ladder or blade of grass. Don't let it go to far away from you. It really is a fantastic feeling inside.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Christmas at My Place

Guest post written by Jill Sanchez

 I'm so glad this week is finally here! I feel like I've been anticipating it for a month now, ever since we all made plans to gather at my place for the holidays. It's a little different to me since we usually gather at my parents' house, but now that I'm out of school I've been able to build myself a little home here that I'm so proud of. So that's why I volunteered to host--I want the chance to show this baby off!
  In preparation, I checked out a few sites with Domain Names specifically for decorating for the holidays. I picked up some useful tips! One had this tip about recycling fake spider webbing from Halloween and turning it into a snowy backdrop for a Christmas town scene. How precious is that? Either way, I'm also trying to make a bunch of food for the occasion too, like cakes and pies and stuffing and turkey...yum! Can't have the holidays without a little indulgence!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Time... and Time Again.

Time... a subject I have written on before and yet there is a wonderful thing about the mind. As long as we keep it open and do not cease using it, we can always learn more. Life's changes and events give us the option to use or discard new insights to things we have written about. We look at the subject through different views or we find that Time itself has given reasons to add to what we have already said. I write for a specific reason today. A reason I will give to you a bit later. For now, I will tell what what I have learned about Time.
 Time has a different meaning to everyone. Not just based on our character or our "make-up" but also because we percieve it to mean something new depending on where we are in our lives and even our age. When a child of 4 or 5 years old says "and when I was a little girl/boy, long time ago...", it can not help but make an adult standing near to smile. How very long ago can 5 years be? Well, to a child who feels like they have lived a long life already, it can be as long as they want it to be. "I have been waiting my WHOLE life to see this" coming form a small child again gives us reason to smile because thier "whole" life fills the entire area of a T-spoon when compared to 50 years old. To stand them in a corner for a 5 minute "time-out" is as long to them as the ocean is huge. It is an eternity to stare at that wall. To you and I, it may very well have been only 5 minutes but to that child, half their life seems to be gone now. 
 When you become a Teen, time takes on a whole new numbers game. Taking 3 days to clean their room was "just a few minutes" to them. Talking to their friends on the phone or computer for 3 hours was only "A few minutes" in their thoughts of time. Take that computer away or thier cell phone away for the weekend and time takes on a whole new dimension for them. One weekend is the same thing to them as "forever." Thier "15" BFF's will no doubt forget who they are and move on to new BFF's before that Friday and Saturday finally pass by. Telling them to take out the trash and hearing "In a minute" translates into "when you get mad enough to threaten to take one of my gadgets away" or the next day, which-ever actually comes first. Time has little meaning to them unless You are taking to long to dress and they have friends waiting at the Mall for them. 
 We all smile at these things later in life but the reality of it is that Time does have a totally different meaning, depending on where we are in life and what events have happened. For an adult, the space between vacation time, the drive home from work, the time it takes to get your order from a fast food place when you are tired and want to get home, IS Forever. The hours between going to bed and the alarm going off are possibly the very "shortest" spans of time for us. "I swear  I JUST laid my head down on the pillow" is a saying we have All used.
 But what has any of this got to do with what I really am writing about today? Time is as short or as long as the event that has brought you to where you are today. Yesterday, as I sat alone here at my computer, I wanted so to write. I had it all in my head, exactly what I was going to say. I did not write. My mind simply would not allow it yesterday and so today I write instead. Five years ago, yesterday, 3/8/06, I lost someone that meant more to me than life itself. My wife of 24 years was taken to Heaven by God. She and I shared a life that was mixed with the greatest of love and laughter and smiles and blessings... and of sorrow and pain and the fact that I had failed to be strong enough to be faithful, after so many years. I failed my Love, my Children, my Family and even myself. Only the greatest of love kept Sheila and I together until she went to Heaven. Tears and reliving and trying to understand so many things have made time for me, do so many things. Sometimes, it didn't move at all. A year passed and it seemed very much like only yesterday.
 Time for each of us is relevant most when it applies to sonmething happening in our lives that disrupts the normal "tick-tock" of our clocks. Someone once told me that "Time" would heal all sorrows. They assured me that "time" would one day make that day seem far, far away. moving on was going to allow me to look at that day and not feel what I felt the day the Surgeon said he could not save her. The hours, sitting at her bedside, crying and trying so hard Not to let her know she was going to die, were for me an eternity. Brushing her cheek and singing her favorite songs while she lay there seemed to be just a momonet and yet hours had passed. Looking back and whispering to myself "when we were at the lake" or "That time you slipped at the Motel" make it seem as if time didn't move at all. It becomes yesterday or just a day or two ago. 
  How long is an hour??? How many minutes are there in 25 years? Will I grieve for the loss very long? Time... a word that takes on a new face, a different span, depending on what you are doing or who you are missing. I think it has been forever ago that she left me here. I know it has been 5 years. The calendar says so. It was only a day ago for me., and I miss her so much. "When I was a little girl/boy now makes sense to me. It doesn't always seem like such a long time but to that child it is because he has Lived it "his entire life." Yesterday was a long time ago and it was just a minute ago because "I have lived it." I Have moved on with my life and live a very blessed life. I have love and smiles and laughter and tears and sadness enough to last me a lifetime. And I have the memory and warmth of "Only Yesterday." So you see, Time has it's own meaning to each person. It can be as long as you want it to be or as short as you need it to be.     

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I ask the same Question!!!!

It has been a rough month for me. We have money to spend. We have a full house of groceries. We have pretty much anything we could desire. Hmmmmm? Rough??? Doesn't sound like anything should be rough on this end? Exactly!!!!!! The very reason I am writing today. My words will reach out and grab a few of you as you read this. You may find yourself whispering to yourself, "Hey, that sounds an awful lot like Me."
 I have a good life. I am a man that has been blessed more times in this life than any one man, especially THIS man ever deserved to be blessed. So why in the world would I be depressed? Again, the reason I write today. Depression and the added Bipolar and a little Tourettes tossed in to make for an interesting "salad" of life, certainly open up a world of sad. Yet still I ask myself, what do I have to be depressed about. Family members that simply refuse to believe that there is anything wrong with me. Those that think I can and really should just "get the hell over it!" I am very aware of all that I have. At the same time, I am extremely aware that I see myself as a total failure and that I have truly accomplished Nothing in my life.
 Depression IS an illness. It is brought on by imbalances in the brain that I do NOT have any control over. It is so easy to sit on the fence and scream all the things I Could be or Should be doing to make this all go away. To waltz through life, never seeing yourself as others see you tears the heart to pieces. To never believe that anything you have done in your life was ever worthy of appreciation or praise is not an easy row to hoe. The sadness and guilt and feeling of being completely disconnected and alone in this world can and do over-whelm the mind and soul. It wears a physical body out and leaves one feeling totally drain from the inside out.
 You, the ones that know me and love me and still look at me with disgust in your eyes, have no idea how many times I have looked in the mirror and saw that exact look coming from my own self. Over and over I ask myself why i am this way. I wonder daily what brought me to this point. I pray and think and ask again what makes me the man that I am? I know, the Past. Hmmm? Isn't the past exactly that? Isn't it Past? Not for all of us. Sometimes, there are those that retain and relive and struggle with the past daily, sometimes even by the minute. We rise every day and tell ourselves we need to be here. We create the reasons and try our best to process them so that we can make it through another day. And still we ask, why am I so sad inside?
 I think that perhaps that very question keeps us captive to our sorrows and guilt. We tell ourselves we have no reason to be depressed and in doing so, we cause our selves to become more sad because we can not find a reason for our feelings. We try so hard to beat these feelings. The battle that rages within wears us down and tires the soul and so... we slip deeper into a world of darkness and the feelings of have no worth or purpose. The accomplishments that other see become failures because though we "wrote a novel" or "made a CD" or "raised a family", all accomplishments in any one else's eyes, we didn't reach the top. We didn't become number one best selling authors or music moguls. We only did these half-assed or part of the way. We Never became "Anyone!"
 Why are we this way? What makes a person see them-selves through "tunneled" eyes? Depression is a terrible illness. It effects nearly half the people in the world in some stage or another. Toss in a few other issues like the Bipolar and Tourrettes and you have a real mess to walk through every single day of your life. And for those that don't believe or find themselves disgusted with someone like me, please be kind. I see myself the same way you do. I do not need you to tell me what I look like to others. A kind word or sign of love will go so much further. Remember this, you never know how close to the "edge" of life someone is standing. You may be the very means to either push that person over or bring them back to a little safer distance from that edge.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Virtual card, a Facebook note... does it mean the same?

  February is a full Birthday month for my family. A sister and my two daughters and my brother and cousin all have birthdays this month. Also included in February was Sheila{my wife of 24 years} and her mother. Going to the store to pick out cards was an hour or better long process. Reading each card until you found just the right one for the person you were buying for. It was time consuming but to see the look on the receivers face as they read your card was priceless. Sometimes it was a phone call to say Thank you for the card they had received. No matter how it was given, the thank you was always nice to hear. It made you glad that you had taken the time to choose the card you did. The thank you was given with much heart because everyone respected the fact that each of our lives were busy and the thought that someone had taken the time to go out and search and find and send a card meant so much.
 Time has passed and technology came along. Real, physical cards were slowly replaced by virtual cards. Not such a bad thing, the "virtual" card made it possible for people that simply could not find the time to go out and buy a card to send one via "E-mail." This meant that people that might have just by-passed the sending of any kind of birthday or holiday card would still send a card through their e-mail. Beautiful cards, exactly like what you would find in a store were found and sent to friends and loved ones.  Most were free and could be personalized to say exactly what you wanted to say. Some said things you could not find in your own words to say. Still hugely used by so many, the "virtual" card sites have flourished and grown. The cards have evolved into "flash" and the scenes have become life-like and Beautiful. I myself have sent more than I can remember.
 Today, as my daughter celebrated her birthday, I was reading the newest way to say "Happy Birthday" or "I love you." It is becoming more excepted but I think my thoughts were no more than the same thoughts many have, only silently. As I read the "Happy Birthday's" that my daughter had received on Facebook, I heard her say a bit under her breath, "I better get a phone call or card from so and so." Social networks and writing on your status a message of endearment seems to be alright to many.
 That made me think about the time I had spent, opening, reading, listening to so many cards in Wal-Mart, searching for just the right card to give to her. The joy and the smiles that came with looking were part of the very reason I was there. There was such a difference in handing her the card, watching her read it and listening to her laughter than what would have come from her seeing a "happy birthday, daughter" on line. 
 I also wondered what she would have felt if for some reason she could not get on-line today? Would she wondered if anyone remembered her birthday? How sad a thought is THAT???? I am not saying that the on-line happy birthdays were not appreciated. They do make one smile. But the truth is, it can NOT replace the feeling inside of knowing someone cared enough to take time out of what is a very busy world and find a card... even a "virtual" card, and send it to you. I think that the "Net" has the potential to make us "lazy" in our sending of special cards for special moments. It is easier to just put a quick note up and say "There, now I have sent them a greeting." It just doesn't seem the same to me as taking the time to find a card that says you care.
 Do I think it means the same to put up "happy birthday" or "best wishes in your new life" on a social site, for all the world to see as it does to send something personal? Absolutely not. Something seems to get lost in the quick write or the extremely impersonal sending of a greeting that is sent not just to the person it is meant for, but sent for all the world to see. Impersonal begets impersonal and suddenly people you have never met in your life are sending the greeting because they saw it posted by their friend, you. It sort of puts your own greeting in the same place. Impersonal.
 Evolution is wonderful and today's technology has brought worlds together. But sometimes, now and then, we need to make things personal again. We need to let our friend or loved one know that they are special. One in a million not one OF a million. To group them with a million unknown people doesn't really do that to me. Just a thought I was thinking.     

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Alzheimer's Disease... A Personal look.

Life at it's very best can still toss hurdles our way. Hurdles that can sometimes truly test the faith and love of a family. I have often written on care-giving and on the care-givers part in the maintaining of dignity of those we are caring for. That role, played by those that have someone that needs assistance in their daily routine applies to many illnesses. Whether the illness be one that cripples the physical body or the mind, keeping their dignity should always be priority one.
 Today, I want to talk about one particular illness. One that has found it's way into my families life and open up a whole new world of what to do's for all of us. My father, a man that has enhanced my life more than I could ever convey here, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease about a year ago. Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia, a term used to describe a group of brain disorders that cause memory loss and a decline in mental function, over time. In fact, Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting 5.3 million men and women in the United States. The numbers seem staggering at a glance but they become much more powerful when that number is reduced to one. One member that is a part of your life.
 Watching the progression of this disease leaves those that are looking on with so many emotions. Not in any way wanting to take away from the emotional roller-coaster that it places the inflicted on, I am giving you a "birds-eye view" of what is seen and experienced by those that love the Alzheimer's patient. Slight and easily given to the saying "it comes with age", the beginning doesn't really bring any remarkable actions from anyone. As the disease progresses, we, as a family, begin to watch closer, observing a greater loss of "short term" memory. My Father remembers anything that he lived from nearly birth to almost present day. In his daily routine, he may simply forget he has told you a story moments before re-telling the same exact tale. He has gone for a drive to the store and completely forgotten why he was in that parking lot. Not every minute nor even every hour is a forgotten time but more often than average.
 The driving issue brings to surface the reason I blog on this subject today. Recently, it was discovered that my Father's drivers license had expired nearly a year ago. Something that many, including myself have done at one time or another in our lives. This brought up the question, should he or should he not have it renewed. I wondered if he could even do so, being diagnosed with the illness. I put a call into our DOT {department of transportation} and presented the question to them. I was a bit surprised at the answer I received. DOT informed me that they ask the same question of anyone applying for a license. "Do you have any physical or mental disease that might impair your driving?" If the answer is no, a license is issued, providing of course that all requirements have been met. Should the applicant answer they have Alzheimer's, they are asked if it effects their ability to drive. If the answer is no, then the license is issued. IF they answer that it might, the DOT requires a written statement from the applicant's Doctor stating if the Doctor feels it is safe for the patient to possess a license. The issuing is then based on the Doctors opinion.
 Because of an incident in which a person was killed by a driver that suffered from advanced Alzheimer's, a concerned was raised as to whether my Father should simply choose NOT to have his license renewed. Opinions had been given by each of my siblings and myself. I asked him to take time in deciding if he would or would not renew. The conversation was gentle and extremely emotional at the same time. I told him that he had given to his kids for 50 years, anything that we needed, especially when it came to needing a ride somewhere or a vehicle when one of ours was down. I presented it to him as a way of us kids giving back to him what he had for so long and so freely given to all of us. Though it was a plea for him to make the choice NOT renew, he responded in a way that I did truly understand.
 Freedom and the ability to take care of himself was being threatened. It was not so much about not having a license any longer. It was about the fact that by not renewing, he was losing a huge part of his freedom. I learned long ago that losing ones freedom, for whatever reason, is one of the most frightening and disappointing losses in an Elderly persons life. They feel as if they are now at the mercy or burdening the people that care for them. In essence, they lose a bit of the dignity that comes with being able to care for their own needs, simply by driving to the store or Barber or where ever they might want to go, on their own. Thinking about driving, something we so often take for granted, unless we find ourselves without a vehicle, I realized how much I myself hate having to ask someone to take me somewhere if my car isn't running. That feeling, tacked on to the fact that a person with Alzheimer's may already be dependant on someone to do things for them they have done for themselves for 75 years and you have a great feeling of loss. The thought of "what more is going to be taken from me" is Very real for them. I believe that perhaps even a little bit of fear that they may become too much for the family is certainly setting right in the doorway, waiting to come inside of them.
 Do I still feel that my Father should Not renew his license? A part of me, the part that loves him very much and fears that harm may come to him or someone else says Yes. Most definitely. Does another part of me fully understand my Father's desire and reasoning for wanting to renew? Yes, absolutely, yes!!! What will we as a family do about this newest situation in our lives? We will do as we have always done best. We will band together as a family and do whatever is needed to make the situation as comfortable and safe as possible for all involved. My Father opened my eyes just a little more concerning preserving the dignity of those we love. He helped me understand a little more how easily it can appear that your freedom is being taken away. He also showed me that the freedom to make your own choices is something that can be frightening when the thought of losing that is present.
 I will pray God's watchful eyes on him and God's touch to give my Father the wisdom to know when it is time to chose differently.

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